Here’s a silly, but widespread, idea.
Big corporations are as big as countries. For instance this report from The Guardian:
“The value of the top 10 corporations was $285tn (£215tn), beating the $280tn worth of the bottom 180 countries, which include Ireland, Indonesia, Israel, Colombia, Greece, South Africa, Iraq and Vietnam.”
Even, usually sensible, commentators like Scott Galloway use this comparison.
The problem is that it’s rubbish.
There’s been a lot of talk that digital voodoo won the election for Donald Trump.
It’s a simple enough story. It goes something like this:
Trump’s data agency, Cambridge Analytica, gathered 5,000 data points on everyone. They used this to psychologically profile people, and deliver highly personalised advertising online. This exploited your character, fears and interests. And this swung the election for Trump.
Dig under the skin and this story has a few flaws. Using Cambridge Analytica’s own data, we can see that it probably didn’t swing the election.
To understand why, we need to kill a myth. Which is that Trump’s campaign knew how individuals behave and think in intimate detail.
This requires Trump’s campaign to have abundant data on millions of voters.
Snapchat’s IPO filing gives us some credible figures for the first time about how many people use it, and how.
Five facts stand out:
- Good user numbers: Snapchat has 158m daily users – around 13% of Facebook’s level, reflecting that Snapchat is still heavily biased to younger users compared to more mainstream Facebook.
- OK messaging numbers: 2.5bn messages are sent on Snapchat daily. This is about 12% of the total daily number of SMS sent, with 3% of the number of users. Snapchat is far behind Facebook though, which has over 60bn messages sent daily. In other words user-for-user Facebook / WhatsApp has 3 times as many messages sent as Snapchat. Snapchat would argue that a picture is much more engaging than a text message, and they’d have a point.
- Good engagement: 60% of users create something daily by sending a Snap. Users visit Snapchat 18 times a day on average. These metrics look very like Facebook for stickiness.
- Great time-spent numbers: 25-30 minutes per day is, again, similar to Facebook, and puts it way ahead of virtually all other platforms. This is crucial to monetization.
- 60% of advertising watched with the sound on – a good point of differentiation from Facebook (which is largely sound off). This argument, also used by YouTube, is compelling for advertisers looking for something comparable to traditional TV spots.
One big challenge is notable by not being mentioned. How does Snapchat expand beyond its core youth audience?
I help people put together strategic marketing and communications, particularly around digital and social.
– Digital strategy – helping organisations model the value of digital and understand what they should (and shouldn’t) do.
– Driving excellent delivery – restructuring processes and team, cutting costs and driving high performance.
– Competitive messaging – combining lessons from branding and political techniques.
I have been published or quoted in Management Today, Accountancy Age, Campaign, PR Week, The Guardian and The Independent. I am a regular columnist in The Drum, focusing on Social data.
Evan Davis, now presenting Newsnight, said of my early work on messaging:
“[He has] an ideology and an axe to grind. But the grinding is so gentle, it is easily disregarded and the underlying points adopted as one’s own.”